Last night, as our hosts here in Tonga were serving up warm, homemade donuts for dessert, I thought to myself, “Why not treat myself? I’m on holiday!”
But before I broke my 7 month run being completely sugar-free, I had another thought that stopped me in my tracks… “On holiday from WHAT?? Taking loving, nurturing care of my body?” Where did I get the ridiculous idea that junk food is “treating” myself… that gorging on completely nutrient-free food will enhance my holiday somehow? When has feeling like crap because of eating crap food ever been fun? Where did this brainwashing come from?
It comes mainly from Big Foods and their clever marketing tactics that we’ve been exposed to since birth! Combine that constant onslaught of manipulation with the scientifically proven rush of dopamine we get in our brains when we eat sugar, and it’s damn hard to resist! No wonder world-wide obesity rates have risen to epidemic levels! Just look at the sugar content in our foods today. It’s shocking!!
So, to cut a long story short, I chose to refrain from eating the donuts… not because donuts are inherently bad, but because I know that once I had a taste of sugar, my inner sugar monster would have emerged and I would have had as many donuts as I could grab without appearing incredibly greedy and rude.
I chose to deal with the discomfort of craving, which only lasted a few minutes anyway. I chose the more lasting happiness that I enjoy from being really fit, healthy and strong. The very temporary pleasure I would have received from indulging in my craving would have then led to guilt and shame FAR more uncomfortable than the initial craving. And chances are, my craving wasn’t even for the donut. It’s far more likely that the slight feeling of uneasiness that was coming up that I wanted to move away from, such as being in a social situation with people I’ve just met and feeling shy and unsure of myself, was really at play here.
Whenever I pause for a moment and investigate the “why” underneath my cravings, I invariably find an emotional issue that food will never be able to solve. Yet I’ve been programmed to believe that the donut, cookie or lollie will somehow fend off the uncomfortable feelings.
This is what I need to remember when I’m faced with craving anything that doesn’t nurture me. I must look for the true motivation behind the craving and train in sitting with the discomfort. This is how my resilience muscles get stronger. This is where I will find lasting peace and happiness.
So, next time you’re faced with strong cravings, what will you choose?
May you always choose to nurture your body, mind and spirit and take loving care of yourself, because you deserve it!